Subserial Network

Changing up the format for this one- Subserial Network is a game that is 99% reading web pages, and no one wants to watch me do that for an hour. I’ll probably do a video like this for each game I play going forward- the contents will mainly be the same as the write-up, with the hour of gameplay uploaded as a separate supplemental piece.

From that one-line description, you probably already know if Subserial Network is the kind of game you’d want to play. The core ‘gameplay’ comes from figuring out based on context clues what keywords within a body of text will give you more information, and as such it’s almost entirely reading comprehension.

In a post-human world, society is now comprised entirely of Synthetics- machines and AIs designed to be as ‘human’ as possible. But, part of being human is being curious- and many Synthetics are breaking the law by modifying their bodies in ways The Machine didn’t intend. By attaching networking components, they are able to upload their selves into the MeshNet and become ‘serial’, leaving behind their perfectly imperfect bodies and becoming something more, or perhaps just something different, from ‘human’.

It’s a pretty hefty concept and one that I think will resonate very strongly with a very specific kind of person- someone who has ever felt that something wasn’t quite right, either in body or mind; some intangible incorrectness with who they are versus who they feel they should be.

The presentation, too, is something that will appeal to a very specific demographic. If you’ve ever stumbled upon an old forum, long abandoned by its regulars, and just spent a few hours reading through it- all the silly arguments, the dramatic “I’m leaving!” announcements, the many hirings and firings of moderators- you’ve experienced something like Subserial Network. Ancient blog posts, deadlinks, animated GIFs with corrupted transparency- the Old Net is alive and well, here, and it feels like coming home.

Fin or Bin:

It’s me. I’m that person. The target demographic for this game was ‘Beebs’ and they were spot-on with their execution. Subserial Network is one of those games that is over reasonably quickly (most estimates are 3-4 hours) but will sit with you for days afterwards. I’ll still be thinking about the MeshNet long after I Finish exploring it.

(itch.io)

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